Is there something troubling you today? Is it something to do with your health, or with the health of someone in your family? Perhaps it’s a problem in your job or business? Is it the relationship with your spouse? Or some problem your child is having? Or is it a general anxiety about the world situation today? Or is it that you need money for something urgent, and you just don’t have it and don’t know where you will get it from? Or could it be it is a secret sin you are struggling to overcome?
Listen, dear child of God. If you are going through one or more of the problems I mentioned earlier, I have an encouragement for you today that can bring you what you need above everything else right now. Many preachers give encouragement from their knowledge of God’s Word, but in many cases they do not speak from their personal experience. Which is quite ok. You can’t expect every preacher to experience directly what they preach about. The testimony of God’s Word is more than enough for them. But when a preacher occasionally gives you an encouragement from his direct experience of it, then I think there is an extra dimension of comfort and assurance in it.
I have gone through all the problems I mentioned in the beginning, plus some. And I have gone through them all in severe intensity, sometimes to such an extent that but for God’s timely intervention, death and destruction would have devastated my family. So please listen carefully, for I have an encouragement for you, if there’s something in your life today that is taking your peace away.
Perhaps you had been praying fervently for some time and nothing happened, and you feel it is useless continuing to pray as earnestly as you had been doing. Nothing may have happened in response to your prayer yet, but here’s how you will surely receive your answer — DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t give up praying for a miraculous deliverance. Never, never, never give up praying fervently for a miraculous deliverance! Because that’s exactly what the Enemy wants you to do. If you don’t give up praying for deliverance, then your answer is surely on the way. The delay in God’s answering you is purposeful. It is creating in you a steadfastness that only serious problems can produce in you. Continue asking fervently, perseveringly, and surely one of two kinds of deliverances will come to you.
This is the first kind of deliverance: God will remove the problem that is troubling you by a miraculous intervention. Your healing will come, or your money will appear from an unexpected source, or something else will happen that will end the problem.
The second kind of deliverance is, the problem will not go away soon, and you will have to just endure it until it goes away by itself. Sometimes the problem may continue your whole life. If you had prayed fervently and the problem continues on and on, then that is EXACTLY what God wants you to go through. Just as he wanted Paul to experience the pain of a thorn in his flesh for his entire life, though Paul prayed for his deliverance from it repeatedly. 2 Cor 12:8-9 When permanent UNdeliverance is God’s answer to your prayer, then keep this truth in the forefront of your mind: He may allow your trouble to go on for a long time, or even for a lifetime, BUT ONLY AFTER HE HAS PROVIDED YOU THE MIRACULOUS STRENGTH FOR IT.
Remember this promise of your Savior whenever you begin to worry that you don’t have the strength to endure your trouble :
No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. 1 Cor 10:13 AMP
When I look back at nearly 50 years of various troubles I and my wife went through, I see that both kinds of deliverances have happened to us. I can’t say the exact proportion, but probably in the case of about half of our troubles, we were delivered out of them miraculously, and in the other half, we were delivered THROUGH them miraculously. Some of the troubles have continued to afflict us to this day even after nearly half a century since they began. But we have perfect peace in these troubles. We can easily endure them.
It is this peace that my wife and I are enjoying today that I want you too to be blessed with. The way to that peace is simple, but it requires a firm decision on your part. This is the way: First, don’t give up praying for a miraculous deliverance, and, second, don’t give up expecting God to deliver you miraculously in one of the two ways he always delivers his people from troubles.
Pour out your heart to him. Take ALL your troubles, bundle them into a sack and then, on your knees, throw them upon your Deliverer. That’s exactly the way the Bible tells you to do it. Listen to this verse.
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Pe 5:7 AMP
The word ‘casting’ in Greek literally means ‘throw upon, place upon’. The trouble that you throw upon him then becomes his personal trouble.
That’s what George Muller, one of the greatest servants of God, did, when he was pressed down with the burden of caring for ten thousand orphans. When asked how he could be so calm in the middle of a hectic day with so many uncertainties at the orphanage, George Muller answered, ‘I rolled sixty things onto the Lord this morning’. Now that great burden was off his shoulders, and was on God’s shoulders.
Precious child of God, who is going through some trouble right now, don’t give up praying for a miraculous deliverance. Every morning when you get up, and every night before you go to bed, roll all your anxieties one by one into a sack, and then, while on your knees, throw them all upon the Lord. Trust this encouragement from your Lord:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Phil 4:6 NLT
And this is what is going to happen to you if you do that:
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7 NLT
You cannot change your husband or wife, but if you don’t give up on your spouse, you can eventually have a marriage happier than you ever dreamed of.
This message is for those who are unhappy with their spouse, and for those who are not fully happy with their wife or husband. This message will also give vital understanding about married life to those who are not yet married.
When a man meets a woman and falls in love with her, both lovers are immediately affected with a phenomenon called eye-glazing. Eye-glazing is the happy affliction of people whose eyes have been glossed over with a layer of amorous sheen and are therefore unable to behold the blemishes in their lover, but which defects are glaringly visible to a third person. The couple in love usually have their glazing fall off their eyes after a few years of living together.
In some cultures, the glaze wears off with such monotonous predictability that writers call the phenomenon ‘the seven years itch’. That is, in about seven years, a spouse’s faults reach such intolerable levels in the eyes of the other spouse that they mutually agree to stop glaring at each other and start casting glazy eyes once again elsewhere. If it is not seven years for lockhorn couples, then it could be 27 years, or more or less.
It is a tragic reflection of the general state of marriages today that even couples married for a quarter century could desert their spouse and cleave to a new partner. They leave and cleave again because they had suffered burnout with their old spouse.
If you are among those people of God who love their spouse but who at the same time are unhappy with him or her because of some deficient quality in es character, then take heart. You have not married the wrong person. The man who finds a wife, any wife, obtains favor from the Lord. Prov 18:22 God has allowed you to marry the person you are living with today because he knows that your present faulty spouse will one day be able to love you far more than your heart could ever desire or imagine today.
Some people are privileged to be married to spouses with few obvious faults. But most people get life-partners with several spiritual or emotional flaws. In every case, irrespective of the number or seriousness of a spouse’s shortcomings, the chances of a wretched divorce or the prospects for a supremely joyous marriage are the same.
It is not the good or bad qualities of a spouse that determines the longevity or degree of happiness in a marriage, but the forbearance that the other spouse continually adopts in response to the defective qualities of his or her partner.
If a wife finds that her once spotless beau has turned into a fumbling loveless brute, she has two choices before God. She may despise him and go through married life a disillusioned and miserable woman, or she may accept him for the person he innately is, and quietly endure his brutishness for the rest of her life.
If a husband finds that the angel he married has morphed over the years into a nagging hag, he too has the same two choices. He may turn bitter against the woman who now does not look upon him with any trace of the adoration she once had for him, or he may decide to accept his unhappiness in silence and uncomplainingly endure her hurting ways for the rest of his life.
Why should a person endure and continue to live with another person for life, when the second person has no love or respect for the first? Here’s why, as revealed in God’s Word:
Because the fault-driven spouse may have more faults than most other people, he or she is being molded by God eventually to love their spouse more than any other person could. Let me put that in another way. Because of the unfailing forgiveness a man shows his fault-ridden wife, or a wife her sinning husband, the forgiven person is being transformed into a wife or husband that will eventually love the forgiving spouse far more than e would have loved had e been without those initial faults or sins. This is an absolute cause and effect principle in all relationships.
Here’s a true illustration of how that cause and effect works:
‘Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
‘And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
‘So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
‘Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
‘And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:36-47
If you were given a spouse who had fewer faults than most other people, he or she may love you with all es heart and give you a lot of happiness. But es love will never be able to match the eventual love of a spouse who had greater faults and who was forgiven and endured more by es wife or husband.
Blessed are you today if you are gifted with a man or woman who loves you and respects you with all es heart. Even more blessed are you if you have been chosen to be the life-partner to a person who seems to have all the shortcomings in the world.That spouse is sooner or later going to love you and give you happiness beyond what you can humanly conceive today. The more you forgive him or her today, the more joy and thrills you are laying up for yourself in the coming years.
Not one act of forgiveness and endurance that you are sacrificing today will remain forgotten but will return to you in overflowing measure.
‘Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.’ Luke 6:38
If you have a husband or wife who is giving you a lot of unhappiness today, but who is also willing to live with you as your spouse, then do not do anything that would cause a diminution of your present relationship. Remember the woman who loved Jesus more than other women because she was forgiven more. Envision the day when your present bumbling husband or grumbling wife is transformed by your continual forgiveness and patience into the most desirable spouse in the universe. Envision in faith, for the promises in the Bible are surer than the rising of the sun tomorrow.
‘Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband…And a husband is not to divorce his wife…If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy…For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?’ 1 Cor 7:10-16
How do you know, O husband, or, O wife? Because the Lord says so, as I have shown you from the Scripture. And because you know, you also know that your spouse with all his or her undesirable qualities today is sooner or later going to love you and honor you more than any other person you might have married had God allowed that. But he wanted you to marry this very same person because he wants the very best for you.
The Lord wants to give you the utmost happiness he possibly could in all his omnipotence as a loving Father, and that’s why he has given you this present person to you with all the blemishes included in his marriage gift package.
‘If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’ Mat 7:11-12
One day, possibly sooner than you expect, your spouse is going to be presented to you without a single fault in him or her, but with a character that is spotless and a love for you that surpasses your every imagination and dream.
‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.’ Eph 5:22-29
Have a blessed relationship, and look forward to far greater joys and thrills with your spouse one day in the future as you continue to show more forgiveness and more patient endurance in your marriage.
‘Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, FAR OVER AND ABOVE all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).’ Eph 3:20-21 AMP. Emphasis mine.
In warfare there is a conditional surrender and there is an unconditional surrender of one party to the other. Conditional surrender is usually called a truce. The two warring factions negotiate a ceasefire by each conceding something to the other, with the stronger faction demanding more concessions than offering.
I don’t know if there is any truce made in the history of mankind which was permanent. Sooner or later, the two parties will resume their hostilities, until one of them reaches such a state of defeat, and the other such a state of conquest, that the latter demands an unconditional surrender and the former is forced to submit absolutely to the other or be further devastated by the enemy. The defeated party realizes that they have only two choices: give up everything to the victor and hope that at least their lives and some basic essentials of their livelihood are spared, or be absolutely destroyed by their enemy.
Many times in history, including in many of the wars mentioned in the Bible, the vanquisher is not willing to accept even the absolute surrender of the defeated party, but destroys them completely. So actually, for the conquered, absolute surrender is a mercy shown by the conqueror. Even if they have left nothing else, the enemy has allowed them to keep their most precious possession – their lives.
The Christian life, says various scriptures in the Bible, is a constant warfare. Against the arch enemy, Satan, and his evil hordes, against his human agents, and against the deadly temptations he throws at God’s people. A person who has decided to follow Christ understands that this is an unavoidable part of his Christian experience and accepts it. This is what our good preachers exhort us to do, reiterating Paul’s admonition to ‘fight the good fight’, and that ‘we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’. 1 Tm 6:12; Ep 6:12
A serious error committed by many preachers is that their exhortation to fight and wrestle refers, in 99 percent of their messages, to battling the enemy – Satan, the world, and the temptations lurking within us. In my entire life so far, having been exhorted to a surfeit with battle messages from the captains of our souls, I have found only four or five preachers who told me that the far greater battle is with God our Savior. The only wrestling with God they sometimes mention is the one where he had to put Jacob’s thigh out of joint to end the bout.
As in all battles that the Lord fights, in victory he is far more merciless and unrelenting in his terms for unconditional surrender than those of most human vanquishers. He demands nothing less than the giving up of all the vanquished’s possessions except the clothes he or she wears and es daily food, and submitting to him as an abject slave.
Actually, our battle with God, unlike other battles, does not involve defeating the enemy, obviously because God is not our enemy. Let me start from the basics about this battle.
It is not generally emphasized in the Christian salvation message that the first experience of the true Christian life is a tragic death. Too many people of God realize this only years after they repent and are baptized. Sadly, not many baptizers tell them this fundamental fact of the Christian life before they dip the repentant ones into the watery grave. Oswald Chambers, in his widely used inspirational book, My Utmost For His Highest, says,
If we get away from dwelling on the tragedy of God on the Cross in our preaching, our preaching produces nothing. It will not transmit the energy of God to man; it may be interesting, but it will have no power.
It is the same tragedy of God on the Cross that is replayed in the God-child’s life, starting with es repentance. At repentance, a person realizes that he or she has broken God’s law, and that the penalty of sin is death. But what many who repent do not initially realize is that the baptism that follows es death is the symbol of es inward death – a death that comes at a cost and pain far exceeding the pain of a physical death. No man can naturally die such a death. The man convicted of sin realizes there is absolutely no way he or she can obey God by the keeping of all his commandments. E knows that if e breaks just one of them, e breaks them all Jm 2:10 and is condemned.
The moral law…simply demands that we be absolutely moral…The moral law, ordained by God, does not make itself weak to the weak by excusing our shortcomings. It remains absolute for all time and eternity. If we are not aware of this, it is because we are less than alive. Once we do realize it, our life immediately becomes a fatal tragedy. “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died”. Rm 7:9
Let me go from the words of that great man of God, Oswald Chambers, to the words of Jesus himself.
What did Jesus say is the first step to following him, to becoming a Christian? Getting prepared to die a painful death! Not a sentimental emotional kind of death, where the repenter feels he is a new person in Christ and his past life with all its sins is now buried under water at baptism. Jesus meant a death that, I repeat again, involves a dying process that is more painful than that of a physical death caused by an accident or illness.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me”. Mt 16:24
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Lk 14:26-27
If you desire to follow Christ, the first step is to take up the cross. And what does taking up the cross mean? It has come to mean to most people, taking up a heavy burden or enduring a difficult trial. Jesus did not mince his words, ‘whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me…’ Taking up the cross means taking it up exactly in the same attitude as Jesus took it up, and then following in his footsteps until, after a short distance, you give up your life.
When Jesus took up the cross, it was the absolute confirmation he was going to die in a matter of hours. You don’t take up the cross, then realize you are going to die, lay it down, and go back to your old life. You have to count the cost of what you are about to do. You have to realize that when you repent and are baptized you are confirming to God that, if he so requires, you are willing to give up everything you desired and held most precious in life – even your wife or husband and children – for the one Person who is desirable above all the others in your life. Yes, you have to sit down and literally count the cost of what you are about to do.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. Lk 14:28-33
In most cases, God does not require the surrendered person to ‘forsake all’ immediately. What he requires above all is an attitude of willingness to give up all. The word ‘does not’ in the original Greek is ouk and it is the same word used a little later in the same sentence for ‘cannot’ in the phrase ‘cannot be my disciple’. So what Jesus meant is that, to follow him, a disciple should always have the attitude that if any of his possessions and relationships is a hindrance to his following Christ, he can forsake all to follow him. This obviously is what Jesus meant, because Peter and some other apostles did not forsake their wives when they went preaching Christ. 1 Cor 9:5
As I said, no person can naturally give up all es possessions and hand over es life to Christ in his or her own strength. But with God’s grace, with his power working in em, all things are possible for em that God requires of em.
And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Mt 19:24-26
With God’s help, even the billionaires in today’s world can enter the Kingdom of God. So don’t worry at all about your ability to give up what God requires you to give up to follow him. If he wants you to give up something most precious to you, but which is hindering you from the Kingdom of God, he will first equip you mentally, emotionally and spiritually to be able to give up that most precious possession and only then expect you to give it up. And remember, whatever precious blessing he takes away from you now – perhaps a relationship, perhaps your family, your house, your land, perhaps even your health – you will inherit that very same blessing a hundredfold someday in your life. Mt 19:29
So where do you stand today in following Christ?
Today, you are in one of these two states: you have completely surrendered your life to Christ, taken up his cross and are following him; or you are still resisting giving up certain things in your life which are hindering you from surrendering your life completely to God. And if you are not sure in which state you are now, there are sure ways to know that.
You have to realize that when you repent and are baptized you are confirming to God that, if he so requires, you are willing to give up everything you desired and held most precious in life – even your wife or husband and children – for the one Person who is desirable above all the others in your life.
If your life is not fully surrendered to the will of God, there are definite fruits, or symptoms, of this unsurrender manifesting in your thoughts, words and actions. I will mention some of the prominent ones.
I think, from my personal experience, the most deadly of the symptoms of living an unsurrendered life is fear. Not just fear of one kind or in one area, but fear of every sort in almost every area of your life. It could be fear of premature death happening to you or to your loved ones; it could be fear of being overcome by a powerful temptation; it could be insecurity, that is, fear of not having enough resources to support yourself and your family either because of losing your job or losing some other resource that is now serving to prop you up; it could be fear for the safety of your children; it could be…think of the fears lurking deep within you constantly.
For some unsurrendered people, more deadly than their greatest fear is a symptom called depression. In my own life, I cannot tell which was more deadly and frightening – the times I lived in great fear, or the occasions a terrible depression enveloped me in its dark and morbid pits. If depression is not a big symptom in your life, then perhaps its lesser version called ‘having the blues’, or ‘feeling low’ or ‘being down in the dumps’, ‘being moody’ could be a frequent and persistent demon in your life.
Other symptoms could be: short temper or sudden outbursts of rage; some form of addiction from which you could never free yourself so far; some terrible secret sin – perhaps some perversion – you may be committing regularly; resentment and unforgiveness at the people who have done you wrong or hurt you; suspicion; jealousy…and more.
Less obvious symptoms include: suppressed frustration that your life is not moving in the direction you want; tension and pressure in your job; lack of zeal and zest in your daily activities; workaholism, lethargy; constant fatigue though there is nothing physically wrong with you.
There are far more symptoms in the life of an unsurrendered person than what I have mentioned above. The symptoms, whatever they are, are deadly in their eventual consequences.
Now let me mention some of the fruits of a life fully surrendered to God.
Just as the greatest fruit of unsurrender is fear, the greatest fruit of surrendering your life completely to Christ is freedom from fear. When you are freed from fear, then another fruit keeps growing fast in every area of your life: peace. Just as the entrance of light drives away darkness from every nook and corner of the lighted area, the entrance of Christ’s peace in your life drives away every fear lurking deep in the recesses of your mind.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Jn 14:27
A surrendered person can never be overcome by depression. He would certainly get moments of low feelings, perhaps even actual depressions, now and then – as I have experienced and continue to experience occasionally – but these dark demons are never able to shake the rock base of es daily peace and joy of living. Depression, while it may cast its old ugly shadow over em occasionally, will never again be able to influence the thoughts and actions of the one who has surrendered totally to Christ.
Since my surrender to Christ – twelve years ago at the time of writing this – depression stalked me and tried to overwhelm me two or three times, and for a while I could feel the horrible clouds of gloom and despondency hovering menacingly over me, desperate to envelop me. But that’s as far as depression could come close to my life. I know my mind can never be overpowered by depression – and that’s only because Christ, ever shining brightly in within me, can never be overpowered by any dark force. What affects me from outside actually affects him and he knows how to respond to it effectively. I was three times held for several weeks, once upto two months – in some of the dankest and frighteningly depressing places on earth. In the dungeons of Arabia, where I was shackled along with murderers and psychopaths as punishment for not being able to repay on time some debts I had incurred by my naive financial dealings in those days. Yet, as painful as my experience was, I never felt depressed or frightened, whereas even a fraction of that experience in my pre-surrendered days could have drastically altered my whole personality for worse. I know of one man, a confident and ambitious executive, who had to spend one month in the same prison. He came out a totally different person, totally broken in spirit, his countenance and outlook in life altered, and no more able to speak or deal cheerfully with his wife and other family members like he used to do before he was incarcerated.
Depression is for those who don’t know what’s the purpose of their lives. They dont know where they are eventually headed. I know with absolute certainty what my life purpose is, and I know with absolute clarity where my life is headed. I know with absolute certainty that what is happening each moment in my life is that Christ is living his life in my surrendered body, and I know with absolute certainty that he knows what will happen to my life at any time and I need not worry a bit about it. I would not exchange this peace for literally any other happiness or blessing in this life. Or rather, I would not exchange this peace even for my own life, for I don’t fear death in the least anymore.
This fruit of peace alone is worth all the surrender in a person’s life. But that’s not all.
Another fruit that the person who has handed his or her life over to God will experience is a growing amazement at, and love for, the Law of God. The Law of God is summed up in the 10 Commandments and expounded in the various testimonies, statutes and precepts given in the Bible. And this love of God’s Law further reinforces and increases the fruit of peace in him. He will declare, as the psalmist did,
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Ps 119:97
As he grows in loving and keeping all the laws of God, his assurance of divine protection in all his ways will keep him calm in any adverse situation, which in the case of an unsurrendered person would cause him to stumble and fall into a deep pit of devastation.
Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. Ps 119:165
The second part of that verse in the original Hebrew literally is ‘they have no stumbling block’.
The surrendered child of God finds that there is no more room for panic or desperation in es life, no matter how terrifying the outward situation may seem. Es confidence in God’s presence always at es right hand is rock firm and e remains unshaken until e is out of the danger.
I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Ps 16:8
He or she will see that the danger that came to cause em to stumble has stumbled itself and fallen into destruction.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me in this I will be confident. Ps 27:1-3
This message, already so long, will not end even after a hundred pages if I were to write more of the fruits of a surrendered life. But I will close this part with one more fruit of the fully surrendered life, a fruit that brings goosebumps and adds immeasurable thrill to my personal life every single day. I don’t have a dictionary name for it, but I call it variously as the ‘Wonder Years’ or the ‘Wonder Moments’.
A child between the ages of six and ten begins to explore and discover all of nature around em. A first sight of a grasshopper, a wildflower in full blossom that e has never seen before, a multicolored bird on the lemon tree outside es bedroom, es first gaze at a star-spangled night sky – everything he or she sees, hears, and feels is a ‘wonder’ experience for em – that is, it brings an overflowing sense of wonderment in em.
In my younger days, I used to occasionally watch a tv series called ‘The Wonder Years’. It was about an eleven- or twelve-year-old boy discovering one by one life’s wondrous experiences. And that exactly is how a person who has abandoned emself totally to Christ feels every single day – even when he or she is going through big troubles. E ponders what e sees and experiences of God’s creation and feels a continual sense of amazement at God’s handiwork. E contemplates the institution of the relationship between man and woman, between parent and child, between God and man, and cannot cease praising God for his creative abilities, and above all for his love that caused him to make all these things for man in the first place.
No matter how old a person is when he or she surrenders es life to es Creator, e will start feeling the Wonder Years in em from the very year e begins to follow Christ in unconditional surrender. His or her youthfulness is renewed in es spirit and emotions to such an extent that even physical youths will find it hard to match es zeal and vigor of daily living.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like an eagle, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Is 40:30-31
Yep, the renewed man or woman feels e is soaring high through life like a swiftly gliding eagle under the skies. Yep, the youthful person, even in his or her senior years, can run and not feel weary, and, oh yes, e can walk with a spring to es steps, and not faint even if e treks eight kilometers up a mountain trail without stopping to rest, as I did a few weeks ago in my sixty-eighth year.
The fully surrendered person feels so youthful he or she wants to take up new hobbies and recreations which seemed daunting or wearisome activities to em in es earlier life. I got a guitar at the age of thirteen, and I would strum on it now and then and try to learn a few chords. I never could summon the perseverance and stamina to sit through a proper training course to learn this instrument. Then, in my fifty-eighth year, I picked up a guitar again, after doing so in vain nearly half a century earlier. I was not a whit better in producing some pleasant sounds from the instrument than I was five decades ago. But this time, with the Holy Spirit as my encourager, I persevered and learned my first scale. Soon, amazing things were happening to my fingers and my muses. Within a year, I was composing original melodies, and even attempting to shred in the style of guitar virtuosos like Yngwie Malmsteen. Today, I consider my ability to play the guitar one of the great accomplishments in my life, a skill which I began to acquire in my senior years. Indeed, those who wait on the Lord shall mount up with strings like the Eagles; they shall strum and not be weary; they shall shred and not fail.
Praise God for his wonder life in his surrendered children!